My Raving Review of Raze by Tillie Cole

23262621I loved this book! It’s very violent and lacks serious editing. If you can get past these points and you are are a fan of mafia romances, this is great!

Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill Volkov, head of New York’s Russian Bratva. Her life is is a virtual prison. She mourns the loss of her first and only love, Luka, who was murdered. Left with no other option for the future, she is destined to marry her father’s designated successor, who we absolutely come to abhor!

What I love about this story is that we come to care for Kisa. She doesn’t like the life but she accepts it, and she is still a caring person. She knows what her father is, yet she loves him. Surprising for me was that she actually helps run certain aspects. She tries to escape the reality intermittently and find some form of salvation in volunteering at her Orthodox church.

This is where she meets a homeless man, named Raze, who is in New York seeking revenge against the man who had him imprisoned in the Russian Gulag and conditioned Raze to maim, to kill and to slaughter. I love the connection between Raze and Kisa.

“Because you belong to me, Kisa… and he pointed at my eye, then his left. “You’re a part of me, remember? God put a piece of you within me so when we were born, everyone would know we matched.”

Swoon worthy, right? Especially from a trained killer. And then there is this next comment from Raze:

“I’m closing my eyes so I can feel being inside you.” He placed his hand over his heart and rasped out, “I’ve seen too many bad things with these eyes. This, I will feel in my heart.”

This has all the great elements: Russian Mafia, a strong heroine, extreme angst, as happy of an ending as Kisa’s life permits. You will have to read it and see what happens to Kisa’s monster fiancé!

5 Hearts and one of my new favorites! 

Within These WallsWithin These Walls has struck within my heart! This is an incredibly heartwarming story by J. L. Berg that I will not soon forget. Lailah Buchanan suffers from congestive heart failure. Her condition and her mother’s anxiety have literally kept her confined between home and hospital. Jude Cavanaugh suffers a devastating loss that has his path crossing with Lailah’s at the same hospital. The two find hope in each other and a bond too strong to be denied.

J. L. Berg does a great job describing Lailah’s emotional and physical confinement. To be physical challenged is to understand Lailah’s concern with her parent’s anxiety and her desire to “break free”.

My mother had been here every day, and her company meant the world to me, but the desire and need to interact with someone my own age was overwhelming. I just wanted someone who hadn’t helped me go to the bathroom or didn’t watch my every move with anxiety, afraid my next breath might land me back in the hospital…

Do you know what it’s like to be taken care of like a child when you’re a grown adult? It’s maddening.”

The type of challenges faced by Lailah are evidenced by the following:

Longevity wasn’t a guarantee for me. It was a reality I had come to terms with long ago, far younger than any person should, but it was my reality and mine alone.

Her physical limitation keeps her innocent at a level others would not understand, making a relationship with Jude an emotional challenge:

Each time he had come into my room, I’d wanted to talk to him—ask him something, anything—just to hear him speak again, but I’d never really spoken to people my age.

Her limitations, experience and prognosis have her hesitant to enter a relationship with Jude:

Even if in some alternate universe, he could possibly see me as someone more than a patient, I couldn’t go down that road—ever. My life was too stressful and emotionally turbulent to share with someone else. Asking someone to step into my world would be like asking him to sign away his own life to take care of mine. I could never do that.

In the end, she puts aside her fears and falls in love with Jude. Their relationship is strong and endearing. At every page, I was expecting a setback where Jude decided that Lailah’s prognosis was not worth the emotional investment into someone else that he might lose, and he didn’t. The strength he showed in the relationship made this a true romance for me in every sense. I wish I could find my own Jude to be on my side.

This is a standalone novel. It probably should be classified as new adult, but there are some adult situations that lead me to label it more as contemporary.

I rate this 5 Hearts!

Jacked (Tina Reber)
Jacked (Tina Reber)

A new story from Tina Reber – finally! It feels like we have been waiting forever. I am a huge fan of her Love Series, and Ryan Christensen is one of my favorite all-time book boyfriends – right up there with Christian Grey, Kellen Kyle and Gideon Cross. This is why it pains me to say that Jacked just didn’t do it for me.

Adam, a member of the auto theft task force, meets ER doctor Erin on a false arrest. Both come from personal tragedies and form an immediate bond. I really liked the storyline potential, and I thought there was good chemistry between the characters. It’s obvious that Tina Reber did the necessary police force and Shibari research to write in detail. I loved the hospital room scene towards the end!

Unfortunately, the beginning moved much too slow for me. The characters had some rather graphic thoughts about each other, yet didn’t kiss until about 29% into the story. The second half finally had all of the action and depth that I was looking for from the beginning. It seemed odd to me that Erin put her new relationship and job before dealing with a family crisis. I also don’t know if the art of Shibari added to the story or if it was thrown in as part of FSOG fashion. Lastly, I am getting a little bored with alpha males coming across like cavemen and speaking with incomplete sentences.

Jacked is part of a series about each of the Trent brothers. It can definitely be read as a standalone. I did like the lead into Jason Trent’s story Amped and plan to keep it on my TBR list, despite rating Jacked 3.5 Hearts.

18697821Katy Evans did it again! Ripped (Real #5) was released this month. I always feel a bit embarrassed at my age to admit that I enjoy this new adult series, but it is just sooo good (although maybe too erotic for YA…?). Honestly, I find the whole Real series entertaining. I love this click of girlfriends and their men.

While being part of a series, Ripped can be read as a standalone. If you want the full context of the characters and their friends, I would recommend reading the stories in order but it is not necessary.

Ripped is a second chance romance between Pandora and her rockstar boyfriend MacKenna. Pandora is Brooke’s gothic friend who was introduced in the first three books. We know nothing about MacKenna before this except that he broke Pandora’s heart. Circumstances bring them together six years later under a scenario I found humorous. It certainty helps to remember what being young felt like and acting impulsively. It also befitted Pandora would be in love with a rockstar that wears colored Mohawks in concert. They make a perfect couple and I could feel their connection.

This had several elements that I enjoy in a book. It made me laugh and cry. I love a sassy heroine. Any amount of angst works for me, and the ending made me CRY! 4 Hearts

I am lite22474626rally swooning! This next installment of the Hacker series, Hard Limit, by Meredith Wild was released this month and worth the wait. Seriously, could we be any more in love with BBF Blake Landon?!

The Hacker series has been ranked right up there with FSOG. My first love is still Christian. However, there is no denying the pull of this series. Given that I also work in IT as part of my real life, I can relate more to the characters and angst.

This installment does feel like a filler in this series, in line with Captivated by You. This is focused more on the romance than the suspense. However, the relationship between Erica and Blake is that much more solidified and enthralling. There continues to be external threats to their relationship. I might have expected a little more than what we received, e.g. Erica’s relationship with her father and Sophia posing a larger threat than she turned out to be –  although who knows what will happen in the next book!

The writing is fantastic, as we have come to expect from Meredith Wild. The connections between characters are solid. It has a swoon worthy conclusion. I anxiously await the next book! 4 Hearts

Visiting Backstage with Trey Taylor!

The fourth installment of the Back-Up Series by A.M. Madden has finally arrived and was worth the wait! For fans of Rocker romances, this is a must-read series. I thoroughly enjoyed each book. This series has so much story to it and is up there for me with the Love series by Tina Reber.

22493119We were introduced to the mysterious bass player Trey Taylor in the first three books. Trey is such an enigma that we honestly cannot help but find ourselves attracted to him with the glimpses that we received along the way. Click the book cover to link to a great video! Between hiding behind his shades and his famous snarky comments, we just knew there was more to his story, and I thank A.M. Madden for writing Backstage just for him.

“It’s just pure fact that I’ll always have to hide my real emotions and feelings. Like Hunter will always be a f*tard and Scott will always be pale.”

I struggle how to categorize this book. There are elements of angst and suspense which I love in a story.  This is definitely not your typical rock romance where the biggest trials are the media and groupies. Backstage is rather a dark read and contains mature themes. Trey’s story is told so well! I tend to forget how young Trey is because of everything he experiences and the way he decides to things – alone. I felt every emotion that he had, and wanted to take him in and protect him. By the end of Part 1, I was feeling as lonely and in pain as he was! I am seriously fighting loneliness today with the end of this book and missing the DL band.

Backstage can be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading the series in order to get the full context and the draw of the story.

What I also appreciate is that the other members of DL appear in this book. It’s nice to see what’s going on with them and to see the solidarity between bandmates continue. I also appreciate seeing how it all began and where it all went to. I understand there will be a 4.5 novella released Dec.23. I look forward to warming up by the Christmas tree to continue this entertaining series! 5 Hearts

Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn is Amazing!

I’m speechless. I think I need nine hours to digest everything that happened in Nine Minutes! Please avoid reading any spoilers because this book needs to be appreciated for the great story that it is. Readers really need to experience the ride for themselves, no pun intended. It is even difficult to write a review without giving away the best parts of the story, so just trust me to put this on your TBR list if you appreciate dark romance and can tolerate violence.

Biker stories do not catch my interest, and huge age differences can creep me out. I was hesitant to pick up this book until I read another very honest review that had me change my mind. Trust me, the age difference is one of the least shocking factors.

Jason William Talbot a.k.a. Grizz had been watching Guinevere Love Lemon a.k.a. Gin/Ginny/Gwinny/Kit since she was six years old. At age 15 he makes his move to abduct her. Grizz leads the pack and does some pretty atrocious things during the story, but outside of abducting Kit, he actually does love her and treats her good. My assumption going in, after reading summaries, was that nine minutes were all that was needed for her abduction. What this number actually means is truly shocking!

This is a well written story. It’s totally captivating. I was able to read it in half a day. While it is part of a series, this first in the series does not leave the reader hanging exactly. I do have solo many questions. What is the secret with Delia? tile some aspects to the story can be guessed at, hang on for the ending because it is AMAZING! 5 Hearts

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